The committee on health and social services of the Palawan Provincial Board is currently deciding on a proposed measure to reinstate COVID-19 restrictions on arriving foreign nationals, particularly those entering through other airports from China.

Board member Ma. Angela Sabando, the resolution’s author, stated in her sponsorship speech on Tuesday that there is an urgent need for vigilance against travelers from China as coronavirus cases in the country surge due to the country’s easing of “zero-COVID” regulations.

Sabando cited that around 100 tourists from China were recently found to be COVID-19 positive after their international flight landed in Milan, Italy.

Italy was the first European country to be severely affected by the virus after it emerged in China in February 2020. Now, it is the first nation to impose mandatory screenings on individuals arriving from China in response to a new wave.

“Nai-refer sa komite ang aking proposal kasi nga kung updated kayo sa social media, medyo hindi nila masyadong pino-post ang mga totoong nangyayari sa China. Pero mayroon nang biyahe papuntang Milan, Italy, na almost 100 patients [travelers] are positive na sa COVID from China. So, nakakatakot naman kung ang ganun kadami ay pumasok sa atin,” Sabando claimed.

She stated that the safety of the Palaweños from the deadly virus is of the utmost importance and should not be compromised by continuing with deficient protocols.

Travelers entering Palawan from China through other entry points, she stressed, should be required to provide negative COVID-19 test results 48 hours prior to their arrival.

This is especially true, Sabando explained, now that there is a direct flight from Taiwan. The first flight from Taiwan after the COVID-19 restrictions arrived with 180 passengers on December 28.

“Ang resolusyon ko panlalawigan lang naman na kung puwede sana sa Palawan medyo ibalik natin ‘yong restrictions katulad na i-require dati ng 48 hours negative COVID-19 result, di ba dati kinukuhanan ng temperature at saka pag dito na sa atin di ba may mga record ng mga travelers?” she said.

“Halimbawa pupuntang El Nido, ang LGU El Nido dapat i-monitor nila for 5 to 10 days baka kasi nung pagpunta asymptomatic, eh pag-alis? Kaya dapat nakamonitor para di na magkaroon ulit ng surge ng COVID sa Palawan,” Sabando added.

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